A Megaphone And The Truth – Manchester 23rd of October 2013

Tonight was the trial run for the ‘Singing Section’, to be situated in the L stand at Old Trafford, the usual place where away fans are allocated. The idea of the singing section is nothing new. It was mentioned frequently in the fanzines in the mid to late 1990’s and after much lobbying by IMUSA, was finally opened in the second tier of the Stretford End in 2001. Having watched matches in that part of the ground in that era, I can well remember the lads ‘n’ lasses in there making plenty of noise but because it was an enclosed part of the ground at the time, the noise stayed within confines and could barely be heard in the lower tier of the Stretford End, never mind the rest of the ground. With it now being re-placed to the L stand and the whole stadium as their audio audience, the singing section made plenty of noise and the whole exercise was very encouraging. It is a great idea to have a group of like minded people together who want to create an atmosphere rather than have them scattered around the ground like piffy. The enclosure was an experiment for tonight’s game. From what my eyes showed, it should not only be encouraged, but implemented as quickly as possible as it enhanced the atmosphere immeasurably. This time last year at Old Trafford, United played Sporting Braga and the only atmosphere in the ground was provided by pre pubescent children who were there en masse via free tickets sent to their schools. By all means have groups of kids in the ground on freebies, but it is embarrassing when they set the benchmark for the vocal support. The regular use of the L stand for United’s more boisterous fans can’t come quickly enough.

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Ryan Giggs about to take a short corner and get caught offside seconds later when Wayne Rooney returned the ball to him (Photo courtesy of Neil Meehan)

Continue reading A Megaphone And The Truth – Manchester 23rd of October 2013

Burst The bubbles – East London 5th of January 2013

Gutted, absolutely gutted, were the West Ham fans in the Priory Road/East Stand at the Boleyn Ground when Robin Van Persie equalised just into injury time yesterday. It was a very pleasing sight after all the gloating that had been going on in the previous twenty minutes. The noise from the West Ham fans, in anticipation of victory was reaching a level of crescendo until Van Persie burst the bubbles. The sudden heartbroken silence was a joy to behold followed by the sheer terror in the ranks of the ‘appy ammas’ (sic) as they suddenly realised there was going to be a siege on their goal for the last two minutes. When Van Persie equalised, the result of a truly brilliant crossfield switch pass from Ryan Giggs, I could see United getting a winner. That United didn’t was down to two dreadful finishes, one from Shinji Kagawa and the other from Antonio Valencia seconds before referee Martin Atkinson blew the final whistle.

Continue reading Burst The bubbles – East London 5th of January 2013

United suckerpunch puts Braga’s lights out – Sporting Clube de Braga V Manchester United , 7th of November 2012

In 1974 and 1975, Muhammad Ali famously fought George Foreman and Joe Frazier in legendary fights that became known respectively as The Rumble in the Jungle and The Thriller in Manilla. Up until the 80th minute tonight, United were drivel in the drizzle as the played sorry in the quarry. Then out of the blue following a speculative ball played from Uniteds right back position, Robin van Persie capitalised on an error by Braga goalkeeper Beto who had found himself hopelessly out of position, to lob home an unexpected equaliser.

Level pegging: Van Persie latched on to Ryan Giggs' wonderful free-kick to embarrass Beto with a smart finish

Robin Van Persie equalises for United on 80 minutes Continue reading United suckerpunch puts Braga’s lights out – Sporting Clube de Braga V Manchester United , 7th of November 2012

Three card Braga – Manchester United V Sporting Clube de Braga , Old Trafford 23rd of October 2012

Former landlord of The Park in Altrincham and 1960s United midfield legend Paddy Crerand said tonight in his programme column that it would be good for United to have qualification from this group wrapped up as soon as possible. Whilst that may be obvious he pointed out that Uniteds last game in the group stage is a home match against Cluj, three days before they play City at the tripe colony. That same week, City have a potentially gruelling match at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, not a game they’d really want in the run up to a derby. As per usual this season, United made their best efforts to sabotage them wise plans by yet again going to sleep early in the game to gift the opposition the lead. Continue reading Three card Braga – Manchester United V Sporting Clube de Braga , Old Trafford 23rd of October 2012

Full moon in Transylvania – CFR 1907 Cluj V Man United 2nd of October 2012

When I first saw the team sheet, I thought tonight boded well for a good performance with plenty of goals. In the end, United dominated the game with a possession percentage that would’ve had Pep Guardiola or Arsene Wenger purring. For all that possession, United were always vulnerable to conceding a daft goal. As it was, David De Gea made an outstanding one handed save in the penultimate minute of injury time. With another unexpected result tonight after Sporting Braga beat Galatasaray in Istanbul, it will be a very content Sir Alex Ferguson flying back to Ringway Airport tonight.

Inquest: David de Gea (right) and Rio Ferdinand (centre) react after Pantelis Kapetanos (left) strikes

Inquest just about to commence when Pantelis Kapetanos put Cluj into an early lead

United played Otelul Galati, a Romanian side in this competition last season: one of the worst sides I’ve ever seen. Cluj, while having no chance of winning the competition were tonight a vast improvement. To my surprise (and the bookmakers’ delight), they beat Sporting Braga in Portugal a couple of weeks ago. Tonight Cluj capitalised after Senegalese winger Pape Amodou Sougou quickly realised that he was yet another winger who’s now got Patrice Evra’s number. He got goalside of Evra with an ease which is nowadays all too frequent to play a perfect cross to an unmarked Kapetanos to score on 13 minutes. Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans had decided to give us an encore of their Laurel and Hardy impression for the weekend by appearing to be completely oblivious to Kapetanos’ presence. Ten minutes later, Sougou was substituted after an accidental collision with Evra. United, who’d had almost constant possession, now had Evra free to play as an overlapping full back. Sougou’s departure took a lot of pressure off Evra.

Predator: Robin van Persie clips Manchester United's second goal past Cluj keeper Mario Felgueiras

Robin Van Persie equalises for United

Robin Van Persie scored an equaliser from a Wayne Rooney free kick on thirty minutes with an attempted glancing header which bounced off his shoulder over a disbelieving Mário Felgueiras’ head. The goal was lucky but for all the possession and sometimes suicidal attacking intent United played with, it was well deserved. Four minutes into the second half, Robin Van Persie scored what turned out to be the winner for United with a beautiful flick over an oncoming and flapping Cluj goalkeeper. It was a classic goalkeeper’s mistake; if he’d stayed on his line, he probably would’ve saved it. Apart from the last minute save from David De Gea, United cruised well for the rest of the game. Ferdinand got a daft booking, Anderson had an OK match and Scott Wooton, who came on for Jonny Evans, became the first player involved in a direct transfer between United and Liverpool since Phil Chisnall in 1963 to take to the field.

Robin Van Persie celebrates his brilliant winning goal with his provider Wayne Rooney and Tom Cleverley

United fans were in the usual good voice for a Euro away. With this season’s final taking place at Wembley, there were plenty of songs from United fans about being On the way to Wembley and the old Doris Day classic Que Sera Sera also geting an airing. This time last season I didn’t think United had a prayer of winning the European Cup. This year I don’t feel any differently but having seen a spectacularly average Chelsea side win the trophy last May, I’d rule nothing out.

Andy Jamo, get well soon mate